Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

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Latest post 01-08-2013 8:31 AM by Drew. 12 replies.
  • 01-05-2013 2:30 PM

    • Jared M
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    Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    2 days ago i was at my elementary school at like 9:30pm with 2 of my friends.  We're all 19 and the cops came up to us flashing their flashlights asking where the weed and pipes were.  We told them we didn't have any and they found nothing after searching the area and our pockets etc, so that's when he took us over to a sign posted on the fence, which my friends and I had no idea was even there and stated that we were all breaking the law.  This makes sense to me but we had never had any sort of warning to leave and had no idea it was against the law, especially when we had went to school there it was just sort of natural. The officer then grabbed my friends drink, smelled it,  and started saying we had been drinking , when my friend told him the truth and that it was raspberry tea without any attitude the officer said, " we have a smart guy, ok that's it! you're all getting arrested!!" "You can thank your buddy!!" handcuffed us and now here I am with this charge.  It says (school) next to Trespass 2nd Degree on my ticket but they said its no't an actual school trespassing charge.  

    My questions are, is this likely to get dropped?  Am I going to most likely have to pay like a $500 fine?  we had no idea we were breaking the law.  I live 5minutes away and road my longboard there and was riding that around on the basketball court,  I've seen people walking their dogs back behind the school all the time it just seemed like a nice little area for the community.

  • 01-05-2013 2:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Jared M:
    My questions are, is this likely to get dropped?

    No.  Prosecutors get paid to make convictions not to drop charges.

    Jared M:
     we had no idea we were breaking the law.

    Ignorance of the law is not a defense and the AZ statute does provide for this:

    A.R.S. §13-1502, §13-1503 and §13-1504, "Trespass" is generally when a person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully on a piece of property after they have been requested to leave, or without the expressed permission of the owner, or in violation of a posted sign warning of Trespass.  (emphasis mine)

    A.R.S. §13-1503, a Criminal Trespass in the "Second-Degree" occurs when a person unlawfully enters or remains on a non-residential structure or fenced commercial yard.

    You didn't have permission from the school to be there and there is a posted sign (even if you didn't see it) that warns being there is trespassing.

    Jared M:
    Am I going to most likely have to pay like a $500 fine?

    Worse.  Criminal Trespass in the "Second-Degree" can be charged as a class two (2) misdemeanor. A class two (2) misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of probation and up to four (4) months in jail. Additionally, a fine of $750.00 plus 80% surcharges can be imposed.

    Hire a lawyer.  The potential for a criminal conviction that could create long term problems in your life exists.  This is NOT a DIY project nor is it likely to just "go away" and be dropped.

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 01-05-2013 3:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    I agree with CM.

    Hire a lawyer. No matter what it costs. You do not want this conviction on your record. Even a misdemeanor can screw you up for life.

    You and your friends might want to chip in and hire one lawyer for all of you.

    A good lawyer might be able to convince a prosecutor to drop the charges or agree to some sort of deferred adjudication that will get them dismissed after you do some probation for a while.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-05-2013 3:05 PM In reply to

    • Jared M
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    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Thankyou for the advice, this is definitely more intense then i realized.  I have no prior charges or tickets do you think jail is very possible in this situation?  I would like to get a lawyer, how much would that cost typically? 750$ fine o.o

  • 01-05-2013 4:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Penalties for misdemeanors can include fines and jail depending on the circumstances but judges have broad discretion in applying the penalties.

    I doubt if there's jail in your future.

    A friend of mine went through something similar in AZ. Got a fine, community service, 12 months probation with a probation fee of $60 per month, with dismissal at the end of 12 months.

    When it comes to misdemeanors I think the system wants to teach you a lesson by putting you through the ringer without ruining your life.

    The difference between punishment with a conviction and punishment with a dismissal is a good lawyer who knows how to accomplish the latter based more on his reputation with the prosecutor rather than yours.

    That probably means paying a lawyer $1500 plus your fine, fees and community service to get out from under this.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-05-2013 5:06 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    The requirements for posting of no trespassing signs can be rather detailed and state specific --and lack of proper signs might kill the legal point of criminal intent to trespass --that said I agree with others  --go get skilled criminal defense counsel pronto 

     

    AND take good pictures of the relevant area(S)  including signage or lack thereof.



  • 01-05-2013 5:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Drew:
    AND take good pictures of the relevant area(S)  including signage or lack thereof.

    Not a good idea

    I suggest leaving that to the OP's attorney to take care of.

    OP gets spotted taking pictures at an elementary school these days and a lot of bad things could happen.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-05-2013 6:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Drew:
    The requirements for posting of no trespassing signs can be rather detailed and state specific --and lack of proper signs might kill the legal point of criminal intent to trespass

    It is an elementary school and given the recent incident in Connecticut and concern for safety at schools I HIGHLY doubt that arguing about WHERE the sign is will work.  Especially since by the OP's own admission the cop walked them over to it and pointed it out.  

    Drew:
    AND take good pictures of the relevant area(S)  including signage or lack thereof.

    REALLY bad plan and may not even be necessary given that the state can introduce testimony from the officer about where the sign is and the act of showing it to the defendant(s).  Recommending that the OP return and trespass again to get pictures that may not be needed and could very well result in another charge elevating it to a felony for it being a repeat act is really bad advice.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 01-07-2013 6:15 PM In reply to

    • Jared M
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    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Did your friend go about it without a lawyer? Thanks again guys the jails what i've been wondering about a lot, it seems steep for what I was doing, but I mean the judge can do whatever they want huh? :\ I was hoping i would get off with a fine 750$ is a lot though, do they ever switch it up and switch the fine price if it's a less severe incident?

  • 01-07-2013 7:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Jared M:
    I mean the judge can do whatever they want huh?

    Not exactly.  You can't get a life sentence for a first time misdemeanor.  The judge is limited by penalties as prescribed by state law.  However within the range of sentencing options the Judge has great discretion.

    Jared M:
    I was hoping i would get off with a fine 750$ is a lot though

    $750 is the MINIMUM.  They can impose up to an 80% penalty on top of that plus court costs.  You can also anticipate if they offer you a deferred adjudication program that there will be program fees associated with that as well.  There could also be court ordered supervision fees as well. 

    Jared M:
    do they ever switch it up and switch the fine price if it's a less severe incident?

    Sure.  The Judge has a wide lattitude in what they sentence defendants to with regard to fines.  However, given the concerns around the country regarding safety in the schools I would not count on the judge going "light" on the punishment.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 01-07-2013 8:57 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
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    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    I am not suggesting you trespass again to get good pictures but in some states the signage requirements are pretty strict and the lack of proper signage could be a big problem for police/prosecutor   I do think its critical that you use criminal defense counsel......



  • 01-08-2013 12:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    "It is an elementary school and given the recent incident in Connecticut and concern for safety at schools I HIGHLY doubt that arguing about WHERE the sign is will work. Especially since by the OP's own admission the cop walked them over to it and pointed it out."

    It was 9:30 at night. Was the sign visible in the dark?

    So what if the cop pointed out the sign? Is the sign visible to someone who has never before been at the school?

     

    Also, the OP says that other people "trespass" on school grounds all the time. It seems to be that the officer was trying to get the OP and his friends arrested on drug charges. When that didn't work, the cop tried to get the guys arrested on alcohol charges. When THAT didn't work, the officer became frustrated and arrested these guys on a "trespassing" charge.

     

  • 01-08-2013 8:31 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Questions on Trespassing 2nd Degree Charge

    Time to stop taking laymens views of the issues 

    (Some of my lands are posted and a few years ago I needed to dig into details of proper posting--and I was simply flabbargasted at how minor things to a layman completely iced the prosecutions case --none of which is directly relevant in AZ .)

    A simple conviction for trespassing could follow you for life --do not underestimate the problems.

    At least one Phoenix attorney claims to specialize in trespassing cases --David Cohen, Esq.

    Proper signage is a big deal. Size, color, language, words , spacing etc.

    Prosecution must prove criminal intent  --like climb over a fence or refuse to leave when so instructed.

    I'm not in AZ but I'm unwilling to assume a public school "playground" is a structure or that it is a " commercial place " and its possible that the law is rigidly construed.

    You need skilled counsel----

     



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